The world’s longest-running sports quiz, A Question of Sport, has been axed following an impressive 50 year run.

The BBC show has officially ended it’s run as the world’s longest-running sports quiz after more than half a century, The Mirror reports.

Last night a BBC spokesman said: “Due to inflation and funding challenges difficult decisions have to be made, therefore Question of Sport is currently not in production at the moment.”

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An insider said that whilst the show is currently no longer in production, fans could possibly see it return to screens in the future. Much like The Weakest Link, which ceased production in 2012 under host Anne Robinson, and later returned in 2020 with brand new face Romesh Ranganathan.

The insider explained: “We have to provide value for money to licence fee payers and prioritise high-impact content that drives viewers to BBC iPlayer. So, for now, Question of Sport is taking a break and there are no current plans for its return.”

The show kicked off in 1970 with sports presenter David Vine as host, following a successful pilot featuring disgraced TV host Stuart Hall, who went on to front It’s a Knockout. Vine stayed with the show until 1977 then, in 1979, it was taken over by fellow commentator David Coleman for the next 18 years. In 1997 tennis star turned sports broadcaster Sue Barker became the host, staying for 24 years until being ousted two years ago.

A Question of Sport captains Matt Dawson (left) and Phil Tufnell (right) with host Sue Barker (middle)
A Question of Sport captains Matt Dawson (left) and Phil Tufnell (right) with host Sue Barker (middle)

When McGuinness took over, in an effort to breathe new life in the show and attract a younger audience, there were moans that his background in entertainment was not right for the show.

Yesterday insiders said the presenters and captains had been informed, and were “gutted” over the show’s demise. It is a particular blow for McGuinness, 50, coming so soon after the decision to also rest Top Gear indefinitely, following the crash which left his co-star Freddie Flintoff badly injured. He will continue to front Inside the Factory, which he has taken over from Gregg Wallace, on BBC2.

When Barker was told that they wanted her to leave three years ago, she was shocked by the way in which it was done. “Naively, I’d expected more after 24 years. Why had we been shown so little respect?” she said afterwards.

“I was asked to announce I was leaving for the good of the show. I was astounded. Was that because I was too old or not good enough? Either way, it was insulting. Did they expect me to sack myself?”

The show’s heyday came in the 1980s – it broke records in 1987 when over 19million tuned in to watch Princess Ann taking part.

By the end of Barker’s time as presenter the show was still pulling in up to 4million. When McGuinness took over, his first show was watched by 2.2million but the ratings soon slipped to under 1million as viewers switched off.

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